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Welcome to the world of the western.

Vast landscapes, adventure, hope and violence are some of the most important words when it comes to westerns.

If you dive into the world of the western, you will notice how large the range is. Not only when it comes to movies, but also the amount of television series is huge. What is striking is that the supply in the early fifties and sixties of the last century is very large. After that, the competition from other genres slowly increased and the genre slowly but surely faded into the background. Yet westerns have always remained popular. The genre has never disappeared and in recent years enthusiasm for the western seems to have increased again. The result is that the necessary television series appear again. Unfortunately not (yet) all in the Netherlands, but hopefully that will change.


The influence of the genre is secretly quite large. Many people sometimes forget that the story structure from other genres regularly came from the traditional western. Whether it concerns science fiction, fantasy or other modern (American) detective and crime stories. Sometimes the link is obvious. Like to the modern westerns such as Justified, Damnation and Longmire. The science fiction series Firefly and Westworld are also clear odes to the western. You also regularly see elements in other television series that have already proved successful in the classic western. Not that I want to exaggerate the influence of the western, because this genre also had illustrious predecessors and influences. For example, the movie The Magnificent Seven is an adaptation of the Japanese movie Seven Samurai.


Now, of course, I can start with some oldies. However, they will be known or no longer relevant for a new generation. Names like Bonanza, Rawhide (with a young Clint Eastwood), Gunsmoke and Alias ​​Smith and Jones will be familiar to fans. Below are a number of tips to help you, as a fellow enthusiast or as a newcomer to the genre, to choose:

Deadwood - 3 seasons (2004 – 2006) and a movie (2019)
As far as I'm concerned, it remains the best western series of recent years. Deadwood depicts a rough time. With later known (anti-)heroes who make the line between right and wrong extremely thin. The town of Deadwood is full of thugs, prostitutes and a few people trying to bring justice. It soon becomes clear that the latter group has to make painful concessions for this.

Into the West – 1 season (2005)
Into the West
This western is set in the midst of the expansionist drive. This drift is at the expense of the Native Americans. Although part of white America was highly critical of a certain scene, Into the West paints a nuanced picture. This is partly because the series also follows a Native American family in addition to the usual white family. Similar in structure to the much older Centennial and How the West Was Won (both 1978). Although the latter series was not subtitled How the West Was Lost for nothing. It all depends on what perspective you look at it from.

1883 – 1 season (2021 – 2022), but...
The spin-off of the successful television series Yellowstone (2018) is truly a classic western. The Dutton family heads west by horse and buggy. Along with a row of covered wagons full of poor, religious and pacifist Europeans who don't know what awaits them. Although it sometimes feels a bit too 'clean' for me, the story is poignant and the emotional ending is great. The question is whether or not there will be another season. On the one hand, it seems so, but on the other hand, it seems that 1923 has pretty much become a 'second season'. This is another spin-off from Yellowstone (2018).

Hatfields & McCoys – 1 season (2012)
Hatfields & McCoys
The feud between two families spirals out of control. Based on truth and it shows. The mutual rivalry creates an intense battle that at its lowest point causes the necessary casualties. One of the highlights is the photos of the original families at the end of the series. It makes the incredible story even more impactful.

Godless (2017) – 1 season (2017)
Godless (2017)
There are also feminist westerns. Godless (2017) is an excellent example of this. The women in La Belle have lost almost all of their husbands. Due to its isolated location, this provides the opportunity to set up a community of its own. Unfortunately, this idyll does not last long. When the outside world makes contact with La Belle, harsh reality soon follows.

Hell On Wheels – 6 seasons (2011 – 2016)
Hell On Wheels
Cullen Bohannan seeks revenge. He finds it in Hell On Wheels. A mobile town that travels with the train track to be built. The rough dynamics of moving further and further west are complemented by the manipulation of the wealthy east. It produces fascinating stories.

Billy the Kid – 2 seasons (2022 – present)
Billy the Kid
The first season is about the early years of Billy the Kid. Just say the origin of Billy the Kid. The second season has been announced. Although historically there are some things to criticize, it remains a fun series to follow. It controls all the typical classic western influences to make it a beautiful whole.

I could make this list a whole lot longer, but let's not. More western series you could watch are Django, That Dirty Black Bag, and The English. Considering the trailers and the reviews, those could be quite interesting.
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